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Syndicated Columns

Make doubt useful

Posted October 14, 2006

Q. I always doubt everything, including myself. What can I do to overcome this? -- G. V., Boca Raton

A. Doubt can be useful or harmful. To a scientist, doubt is the method that fuels new exploration. To the individual, doubt is a form of fear. It can cause the poisoning of reality and of the mind. It often leads to inactivity and sometimes causes harm to others.

Doubt is often debated in Christianity. It refers to doubt about salvation and eventual redemption in an afterlife.

American author Christian Bovee said, "Can that which is the greatest virtue in philosophy, doubt, be in religion what the priests term the greatest of sins?"

Fortunately, there are spiritual approaches to doubt. Some methods recommend that a person ask his own mind if the doubt is real. By looking at the posture of the mind, we can uncover and discover the source and reality of our doubts and fears.

The Buddhist faith approaches doubt as a negative part of our perceived past and future. To let go of the personal history, and to release attachment every day in meditation, is the key to eliminating doubts arising from our past conditioning.

Through a spiritual approach, doubt can be dispelled.

You are now aware of your relationship with doubt. How is it serving you? Does it prevent you from taking action? Does it allow you to stand in judgment of others? Are you locked into a belief system where new information must be filtered?

It is important to be skeptical and to doubt, for it is a good place to begin the journey of understanding. Yet remember, doubt can be conquered only by action.

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